Bad day

Ranch men are notorious for being late.  Supper is cold, there are 7,000 acres they could be on, but when do you start to worry and go looking?  I just about found out today.

I got home and Newt wandered in the house.

“I had a bad day,” he said.  I looked at him.  Newt never has a bad day.  I can rant and rave about my crummy office job, but not much bothers him.

“Why was it a bad day?” I said, sorting through the mail at the kitchen table.

“Well, I pulled bulls this morning.  Our bull was in Hank’s and Carol’s cows again…

(This was the 5th or 6th time Newt has had to get our bull out of their cows.  If Hank and Carol weren’t a bull short this year, they probably would have cared more.)

…He went back to our cows fine, but then he wouldn’t leave.  Even when I brought the entire herd.  I tied him to the windmill.”

“Yes, I see you had a bad bull pull this morning,” I answered. (This isn’t anything new, do bulls ever want to leave a herd of women? No, unless it’s to visit another herd of women.)

Newt continued, “And then I was riding our little red colt to pull the bulls out of the far pasture and he tripped going down a hill…”

I looked up and started paying better attention.

“…and he broke…”

“His leg?!?  Is that what the blood on your shirt is from?” I just noticed both sleeves with big bloody spots.

“Nope.  We went end over end.  I hit my head pretty hard and busted my nose open.  The colt broke his neck and died.”  DAH!

“Best part was I got to walk all the way back to the house (Newt hates walking).  It was a booger pulling the saddle from under him.”

“So we are short a horse?”  A bad day.

“But I could have been short a husband?”  Beyond a bad day.

Categories: Ranching in the Sandhills | Leave a comment

Cracks in the new shower

Last year (yes, as in 2014), we paid a large sum to a plumber to replumb our entire house and put in new tub/shower.

As we neared completion, I was FINALLY wiping the drywall dust off of the shower.

My rag caught.  I stopped breathing.  Not our brand new, never been used shower!

Yep, there it was.  I checked the other tub.  Uggh!

Crack in Sterling Vikkel shower

You couldn’t see the cracks, but you could feel them.  I took a pencil and the cracks emerged.  Six to seven total on in both bathrooms.

To make a long story short, the Sterling customer service said it wasn’t “economically feasible” for them to come to our area to fix the new, very been used tub and shower.  “Get us a detailed estimate from the plumber to tear out the shower walls and put new in.”  “Let’s just void the warranty and pay you $1,000.”  “It’s not a vinyl patch- you could at least use the correct term.”

To make a long story short, I was not impressed with the friendliness or speediness of the company.

The Tub Doctor finally came and drilled out the cracks, filled in the new patch, and sanded to a smooth surface.

I’m so glad we are done with cracks/leaks.

Oh wait, I forgot… our roof is leaking.

Categories: Home Remodel | Leave a comment


When  you brand towards the end of May, the weather doesn’t always cooperate.

You brand in the wind.

You brand in the heat.

You brand in the fog.

You brand in the rain.

Your brand in a thunderstorm.

Snow in May

For the first time, we postponed branding because of the snow.

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Why don’t people listen?

My pet peeve is when people don’t do what I ask.  I have usually researched, or thought over, multiple options.  Tried to pick the option with the least problems down the road.

Damn that contractor for lifting the side of our mudroom so Newt “would have more head space”.

When I left that night, there was to be slope to the roof, at the expense of 6 inches on one wall.  The next day, I came back to “higher” ceilings in a nearly completed room.

Now our house roof and mudroom roof are flat.  The contractor fixed it with caulking and swore it would stay leak-free for decades.

Leaky roofSee the bubble just right of the cabinet.  That is a paint bubble surrounded by speckling of mold, due to water leaking in from the roof.

I’m so glad Newt has “head space” above our freezers.  Oh wait… that is why I sacrificed those 6 inches- it didn’t flipping matter!

@^#$*- Why can’t people just do what I ask/pay them to do?

I disdain being a homeowner.

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Hello, my name is…. and I’m a…..

I have been working with my diabetes educator to try to get better control of my blood sugars.

After keeping track of detailed records, I am somewhat depressed with the results.

Marcey says I need to eat better, take better care of myself, eat a “real” meal for lunch & dinner (haha- she calls “supper” “dinner”).

She did not consider my tortilla shell with Nutella a real meal.

She did not consider my yogurt a meal.

She did not consider my peanut butter sandwich a real meal.

She did not consider my fruit snacks a real meal.

With all the high blood sugars I’ve had the last several weeks, I neither feel like eating or feel I deserve to eat.

eek! I realized…I’m one of them- the 8 out of 10 diabetics that have an eating problem.

I feel the need to recite “Hello.  My name is… and I have an eating problem.”

*High bloodsugars= I don’t deserve to eat right now.

*Low bloodsugars=I can eat all the junk food I want.

*Carbs= I love eating you now, but guilt will eventually kick in.  I will vow to eat only proteins from now on- eggs, fish, steak, hot dogs… I have canine teeth and I plan to use them.

*Fresh veggies and fruits= I don’t deserve to spend the money to buy them.  It should go to something more important- like blood testing strips or insulin.

*Diet Dr. Pepper=no sugar, but caffeine , which can raise your bloodsugars.

*Diet A&W= the only guilt-free thing I can eat (no sugar, no carbs, no caffeine, and a little flavor left)

Hmmm, she didn’t consider Dt. A&W a real meal either.


Categories: Diabetes- Type 1 | Leave a comment

Grandma’s Iris

Nothing says, “I’m a grandma” to me like an iris.


My great-grandmother had iris and lilacs.  My grandmas had iris (and lilacs).

I tried to salvage some iris bulbs from our old house, but only a couple survived.  I am trying to keep them alive.

The iris bulbs were from my grandmother- overflow from her patch on the ranch.  I had them in our old flowerbed for 3 years after she gave them to me.

The iris never bloomed in those early years.

My grandmother passed away in January.

And the irises bloomed that spring.

Some may call it a “sign”.  I know I teared up when I saw the buds for the first time, as if Grandma was tending to my flower bed from heaven.  (Which I need all the help when it comes to flowers and lawns!)

I always think of grandmas when I see an iris bloom.


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Plant of the Week- Gromwells

The grass is green and the forbs are flowery.  I have no excuses.

It’s time for “Plant of the Week” again.  Say “hello” to my yellow friend, the Gromwell.

One of the first yellow flowers in the Sandhills.  Gromwells (also called Hoary Puccoons).

One of the first yellow flowers in the Sandhills. Gromwells (also called Hoary Puccoons).

The Gromwell flowers early in the spring- it (and the mustards) are usually the first shot of color.

The flowers are rich and saturated in their yellow.  Each flower has 5 petals.  The dark green leaves are rough, like a cat’s tongue.  In the fall, the leaves turn brown and curl.  At the base of the leaf (where the leaf attaches to the stem) a small, white, and hard seed will form.

Scientific name: Lithospermum canescens.

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Shot at and…

“Shot at and missed….


Sh!t on and hit.”

It’s been one of those days/weeks/month.

History to this great quote:

My friend lived in the country and the place they bought came with an outhouse.  (An outhouse what you use when the water pipes freeze, or the plumber takes forever to visit your extremely rural area, or when a Sandhiller tries to fix the problem himself.  It’s a small building over a hole that substitutes for a real toilet.)

Her outhouse was used by many a bored (and witty) persons.  They would scratch in toilet related poems and sayings.  This great saying came from that outhouse.

You’re welcome.  Now you can put into words when you have a really, bad day.

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Friday Thoughts

Thought for the day:  Does recycling the cardboard out of your Reece’s peanut butter package make you a better person?

My Dad driving Angus Herd

If so, I’m a really good person most days.

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Branding Buns

Instead of “Branding Buns” I should have named this post, “I am So Sick of Baking Bread!”

Newt has over 50 people coming to brand in a couple weeks.  Since I still work nearly full-time, I have to make the branding meal as much ahead as possible.

I have 3 cheesecakes in the freezer.  And now I have 83 buns.

I made 5 batches of the Quick Bread Recipe.  For the buns, I prefer to use bread flour that has extra gluten for more strength in my buns (aka Buns of Steel).

This recipe made 16 rolls each, give or take.  I also decrease my yeast down

Great homemade bread recipe used by my grandma and mom.

Great homemade bread recipe used by my grandma and mom.

to 2 TBS which I mixed ahead of time with 1/2 cup of warm water and a couple tablespoons of the sugar.  Then the yeast reproduced like crazy in the warm, energy packed water and fluffed up.  After that, I added a couple cups of bread flour (mine was unbleached), 1.5 cups of hot tap water, and 1/2 cup of oil.  I also added the rest of the sugar, and 1 TBS of salt.  (It sounds like a lot of salt, but if you skimp the bread tastes flat.  I used sea salt, but I’m sure the NaCl in your salt will work just fine.)

I turn my dough out to knead by hand for 10 minutes, to get the right consistency.  I also keep the dough a bit on the sticky side, because at branding we will thaw these and grilled them with butter (like the hamburger buns on “Dinners, Drive-ins, and Dives”).  Too much flour and overcooking the buns will make them tough, dry, and too crumbly.

The reason this recipe is “quick” is the fact you doubled the amount of yeast.  So don’t leave the dough unattended.  Batch #3 exploded through the saran wrap I placed over the dough to “rest” (or “take a nap” as ReeRee calls it).  I let the dough rise once (lack of time), but if you let it rise twice the yeast/bready flavor will be more intense.

I have a new electric kitchen range and I had to experiment on the temperature and convention.  In the end, I toasted the buns for 15 minutes at 335 degrees with the convention fan on.  (I hate to admit it, but it cooked better than my old gas stove.  I can’t say the same for the cooktop- I miss my gas range.)

After Batch #2 I noticed my buns were too thin to be sliced for a sandwich, unless you like flatbread.  So I tried making my dough look like a poached egg (flattened around the outside of a fat yolk).

This was the best way to proof the rolls for a nice round bun shape.

This was the best way to proof the rolls for a nice round bun shape.

The yeast will continue to reproduce and belch gases, causing the buns to raise (or proof).  Once you bake them, this funny shape disappears.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Be glad you weren’t around to smell the wonderful smell- neither Newt, nor I, nor ReeRee got a single one.

Now I just need to cook 7 roasts, caramelized onions, make 20 gallons of tea, peel and slice 4 pounds of carrots, peel and dice 20 pounds of potatoes, cook the corn, and make cheesecake toppings.

Brandings are like weddings.  You enjoy other people’s more when you went through the work yourself.

Categories: Recipes | 1 Comment

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